Shaving for men has been around in various forms for many thousands of years and though we have some rather nifty developments in the equipment and products to use, many men still end up with an unsatisfactory finish. From razor rash and razor burn to nicks in the skin and ingrown hairs or razor bumps, getting a smooth shave seems to be a bit of a trial. So here are a few tips to help get that smooth face everyone desires.
Preparation for wet shaving
One of the first steps to shaving is to wet the area to be shaved – but do you just lightly splash it with lukewarm water? For a really good, smooth shave, the best bet is to make sure the area is thoroughly prepared by using hot water and a flannel, repeatedly holding the hot flannel against the area to be shaved, this will greatly soften the bristle. – showering before you shave is also a great way to achieve this. Don’t apply shaving products or try to shave on a dry or lightly moistened face as that is a sure fire way of getting razor burn.
The right products
There are no shortage of men’s shaving products currently available and which is best is largely a matter of personal preference. However, when looking at shaving cream, opt for one that creates a creamy lather rather than just a foam. Foaming soap isn’t the best substance to shave with, while a creamy lather can mean less irritation to the skin when shaving. It also acts as a lubricant for the skin which reduces the chance of nicks and cuts. Shave gels can also be very good at preparing for a clean, irritation free shave.
Shaving brushes may seem old fashioned but they are still rated as the best option for preparing for a good shave. A shaving brush works the hairs, raising them up from the skin to allow for a better, cleaner shave. It also works up that creamier lather that we mentioned to get a nick-free shave. Apply the cream in a circular motion ending with an upstroke that further lifts the hair.
The razor blade
Key to a smooth shave is the quality of the razor blade, which may seem obvious. But did you realise that the razor isn’t just removing the hair from your face but up to two layers of the surface skin? That’s why a dull blade tugs at the skin, creates a blotchy look and is more likely to result in a cut. Changing the blade depends on a few factors such as how often you shave, how tough your facial hair is and the type of blade. Ideally you should change the blade every 2 or 3 shaves, not only for the sharpness but also for hygiene. Always rinse your razor in very hot water after shaving to keep it clean and hygienic
When shaving, to avoid ingrown hairs, only go with the direction of the beard growth. For the closest of shaves go against the growth with the second pass of the razor. Start on the sides then the upper lip area and then the chin. Hairs around the chin tend to be the very toughest so let them soften the most with hot water and the shave cream.
Shaving against the growth is a top reason that you end up with ingrown hairs, also known as razor bumps. These happen when the hair growth back into the follicle rather than out of the follicle. This causes the surrounding tissue to become infected and red and inflames the skin.